- A busy week
- Cho Chikun wins Oza title
- Kobayashi Izumi wins Women's Honinbo title
- Hane levels score in Tengen title match
- Takemiya wins Judan Winners' Section
- China wins 12th International Amateur Pair Go Championship
- First Nihon Ki-in professional born in Heisei era
- Kansai Ki-in No. One Place
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- 6th Samsung Cup final: China vs. Korea
- Kisei challenger: Ryu Shikun
- Kato takes Honinbo league lead
- Hikosaka and Yamashita to make Meijin-league debuts
- Hane Yasumasa scores 1,000 wins
- Hane Naoki certain of new record for most games played
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- A busy week
- Yoda defends Meijin title
- Cho extends lead in Oza
- Ryu makes good start to Tengen title defence
- Kobayashi takes lead in Women's Honinbo
A busy week
Last week was a busy week at the Nihon Ki-in, with three title-match games being played, and two titles being decided. On top of that, the World Amateur Pair Go Championship was held at the weekend.
Cho Chikun wins Oza title
Cho Chikun has swept the 49th Oza title match with straight wins and so rejoined the ranks of the title holders just a little over a year after he lost his Meijin title.
The third game of the title match was played at the Yoshikawaya inn in Fukushima City on 14 November. Playing black, Cho forced O Rissei to resignaiton after 147 moves. Because the game ended so early, the players had more time left than usual: 10 minutes in the case of Cho and 90 minutes for O.
This win gave Cho revenge for his three previous losses to O in this title (in 1995, 1999, and 2000). Fans had been looking forward to a closely fought title match, so the one-sided result is quite surprising. O Rissei seems to be in a bit of a slump, which, with his Kisei title defence looming, must be worrying him.
Incidentally, this was Cho Chikun's 63rd title, so he needs just one more to catch up with Sakata Eio.
Kobayashi Izumi wins Women's Honinbo title
Kobayashi Izumi 5-dan has won her fourth women's title by defeating Inori Yoko 5-dan, a fellow disciple of her father, 3-1 in the 20th Women's Honinbo title match. This the first time Kobayashi has won this title; she is also the current Women's Meijin and she has twice won the Women's Kisei title.
The fourth game was held in Osaka on 14 November. Playing white, Kobayashi forced a resignation and so became the only woman player holding two titles simultaneously.
Hane levels score in Tengen title match
Hane Naoki has turned the 27th Tengen title match into a real contest by winning the second game and so evening the score at one win each. The second game was played at the Kumamoto Hotel Castle in Kumamoto City, Kyushu, on 15 November; taking white, he defeated the title holder, Ryu Shikun, by just half a point.
The third game is scheduled for 29 November.
Takemiya wins Judan Winners' Section
Takemiya Masaki 9-dan has been a little quiet recently, but he also may be getting ready to make a comeback. In the final of the Winners' Section of the 40th Judan tournament, played on 15 November, he defeated Yamashita Keigo 7-dan by 2.5 points. Takemiya will now have to wait a couple of months to see who will be his opponent in the play-off between the winners' and losers' sections to decide the challenger. Just for the record, O Meien has already reached the final of the losers' section; the winner of a game between Cho Chikun and Kobayashi Koichi will then play Yamashita to decide the other finalist.
China wins 12th International Amateur Pair Go Championship
Chen Zude, the president of the Chinese Weiqi Association, mentioned some time back that his country was disappointed about its lack of success in the International Pair Go Championship since the 2nd tournament and that it intended to win the next one.
Just how serious China was was revealed by its team captain Wang Yi 5-dan. His association told the team that won their qualifying tournament: 'Sorry. We don't think you're strong enough to win the international tournament, so we're not going to send you to Japan.' In their place they sent the 14-year-old Fan Weijing and the 13-year-old Huang Chen, both of whom have been undergoing intensive training and who are presumably intended for professional careers.
This youthful team lived up to expectations, disposing of all their competition to secure victory in the tournament with five straight wins, although they did have the benefit of a three-point penalty levied on their opponents in the last round, Korea, for playing out of turn.
Korea took second place and the Japanese team of Imamura Yasuko and Imabun Yoshiyuki, who lost to China in the fourth round, came third. The top Western team was the U.K., represented by Kirsty Healey and Matthew Macfadyen, who took 12th place with three wins.
First Nihon Ki-in professional born in Heisei era
The Heisei era started in January 1989 after the death of the Showa Emperor. It is now nearing the end of its 13th year, and next April will witness the debut of the first professional player born in the current era. He is also the first elementary-school pupil to qualify as a professional since Yuki Satoshi of the Kansai Ki-in 17 years ago.
The player is Iyama Yuta, who is 12 years old, and he earned the right to make his professional debut next April by winning the qualifying tournament for the Kansai (Osaka) headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in. When he was in second and third year of elementary school, Iyama scored successive victories in the all-Japan tournament for elementary-school pupils, after which he decided to become an insei. In the insei A League, which is the professional qualifying tournament, he posted a remarkable record of 71 wins to 8 losses, including a winning streak of 46 games. His teacher, Ishii Kunio 9-dan, is confident that he has the potential to become a world champion. If so, that is good news for Japan, whose younger players recently have clearly fallen behind their peers in Korea and China.
Kansai Ki-in No. One Place
This tournament, a best-of-three, was won by Honda Kunihisa 9-dan, who defeated Kubo Katsuaki 9-dan 2-0. The games were played on 18 October (Honda won by 5.5 points with black) and 10 November (Honda won by resignation with white).
Two players earned promotions in the Oteai last week. They are Ms. Kato Keiko, who made it to 4-dan, and Konagai Masaru, who was promoted to 8-dan. Both promotions date from 16 November.
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
Western players had mixed success last week at the Nihon Ki-in, winning one game out of three.
(12 Nov.) Michael Redmond 9-dan (W) beat Sugimoto Akira 7-dan by 3.5 points (3rd preliminary round, Fujitsu Cup).
(15 Nov.) Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (B) beat Redmond by resig. (Kisei preliminary).
(15 November) Yamamori Tadanao 3-dan (B) beat Catalin Taranu 5-dan by resig. (1st prelim. section, Honinbo tournament)
6th Samsung Cup final: China vs. Korea
The semifinals of the 6th Samsung Cup featured two Korea vs. China pairings. One player from each country was successful, so these two countries will also contest the final. In one semifinal, Cho Hun-hyun, Korea's evergreen champion, continued to show the superb form he has maintained in international go for the last year and a half. He now has a chance to try for his 10th international title.
In the second semifinal, Chang Hao of China overcame his nemesis, Yi Ch'ang-ho, defeating him 2-1 to win the other final place. He will be bidding for his first world title.
| Game 1 (6 Nov.).
||Cho Hun-hyeon (W) beat Ma Xiaochun by resig.; Chang Hao (W) b. Yi Ch'ang-ho by .
| Game 2 (7 Nov.).
||Cho (B) b. Ma by resig.; Yi (W) b. Chang by resig.
| Game 3 (8 Nov.).
||Chang (W) b. Yi by resig.
Kisei challenger: Ryu Shikun
The challenger for the 26th Kisei title will be Ryu Shikun Tengen. In the play-off, held at the Nihon Ki-in on 8 November, Ryu, playing white, forced Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, to resignaiton after 194 moves. Cho had overlooked a simple life-and-death position, a most uncharacteristic slip which cost him the game.
The Korean-born Ryu will launch his 30's (his 30th birthday is on 8 December) by challenging for the number one title. He actually has a lead over O Rissei Kisei in encounters to date, with 11 wins to 9 losses. However, he lacks his experience of two-day games, having made just one top-three challenge to date; that was for the 51st Honinbo title in 1996, when he lost 2-4 to Cho Chikun. However, the above factors will probably be irrelevant once the title match starts. Incidentally, this will be the third year in a row that the Kisei title is fought between non-Japanese members of the Nihon Ki-in.
The first game will be played in London on 10 & 11 January 2002.
Kato takes Honinbo league lead
Three games have been played in the 57th Honinbo league so far this month. In the first game of the second round, played on 1 November, Kato Masao 9-dan (W) defeated Otake Hideo 9-dan by 4.5 points and so became the first player to go to 2-0. Two more games were played on 8 November. In one of them, Yamada Kimio 8-dan (B) defeated Miyazawa Goro 9-dan by resignation; in the other, Hane Naoki 8-dan (B) defeated Cho U 7-dan, also by resignation.
As a result, Kato Masao temporarily has the sole lead in the new league. The only player who can draw level with him is Cho Sonjin 9-dan, who has yet to play his second-round game.
Hikosaka and Yamashita to make Meijin-league debuts
Two new faces will join the 27th Meijin league: the 39-year-old Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan of Nagoya, who has already played in four Honinbo leagues, and the 23-year-old Yamashita Keigo, who, a little surprisingly, has not so far played in any league though he has already won a top-seven title.
Hikosaka defeated another young promising young player, Cho U 7-dan, in their play-off, held on 1 November; taking white, he forced a resignation. The latter thus missed out on a chance to become one of the few players to play in all three leagues. Yamashita won his place by defeating Yo Kagen 9-dan on 8 November; playing white, he won by 7.5 points.
Previously, O Rissei had regained the place he lost in the previous league. These three players join the following players who retained their places from the 26th league: Rin Kaiho, Cho Chikun, Ryu Shikun, Cho Sonjin, O Meien, and Kato Masao. This is a very high-powered group: everyone has won a top-seven title, and among them they hold all the current titles covered, except the Meijin itself, of course, and the Gosei.
To 2-dan: Takekiyo Isamu (31 October)
Hane Yasumasa scores 1,000 wins
At the age of 57, Hane Yasumasa 9-dan has become the 7th player to score 1,000 wins in Japanese tournament go. He did this by winning an Oza preliminary game on 8 November. His record is 1,000 wins, 486 losses, and five jigo. This is an outstanding winning percentage of 67%. Hane is proud of the fact that he has never forfeited a game through illness.
Following is a list of the other players with 1,000 wins.
1. Rin Kaiho: 1,187
2. Kato Masao: 1,186
3. Cho Chikun: 1,184
4. Kobayashi Koichi: 1,089
5. Otake Hideo: 1,051
6. Sakata Eio: 1,028
As you can see, the competition among the top three is quite fierce. Next in line is Takemiya, who has 916 wins, but he estimates it will take him three years to make four figures.
Hane Naoki certain of new record for most games played
Hane Naoki's Honinbo-league game mentioned above was his 77th game this year, which gave him a tie with the record set by Yamashita Keigo just last year. Hane is scheduled to play at least six more games this year, a number that may increase if he wins, so he is guaranteed to set a new record. At present, he has 55 wins to 22 losses, so he is also within shooting distance of Takao Shinji's record for most wins in one year of 61.
esterners at the Nihon Ki-in
Westerners have had mixed success at the Nihon Ki-in recently. Below are their results for the last two weeks.
||Ono Nobuyuki 6-dan (W) beat Catalin Taranu 5-dan by resig. (Kisei preliminary).
||Tominaga Takeshi 3-dan (B) beat Hans Pietsch 4-dan by resig. (Kisei prelim.).
||Michael Redmond 9-dan (B) beat Koyama Ryugo 6-dan; lost to So Yokoku 7-dan (B) by 4.5 points (Toyota & Denso Cup Japanese qualifying tournament).
||Pietsch 4-dan (W) beat Izawa Akino 3-dan by resig. (Oteai).
||Yo Kaei 7-dan (W) beat Taranu 5-dan by resig. (Shinjin-O).
A busy week
It was a busy week in tournament go last week, with four title games being played. One of them, the Meijin was decided.
Yoda defends Meijin title
The sixth game of the 26th Meijin title match was played at the Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel on 31 October and 1 November. Playing white, Yoda Norimoto Meijin defeated Rin Kaiho, forcing him to resignaiton after 204 moves, and so completed his first successful defence of the Meijin title. The game followed a similar pattern to the 5th game: Yoda went on the attack early and by White 50 had seized the initiative. Rin made a valiant attempt to upset his lead and almost succeeded, before falling short in a final fight. The game finished at 7:36 p.m. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, both players were down to the last minute of byo-yomi.
This is Yoda's 27th title.
Cho extends lead in Oza
In his challenges for the Oza title last year and the year before, Cho Chikun won the first game and that was it: he lost 1-3 each time. This year he is doing better. The second game of the 49th Oza title match was played in the Osaka Riga Royal Hotel on 1 November. The game finished at 10:13 p.m. after 284 moves and Cho won by 7.5 points. Both players were down to the last minute of byo-yomi (the time allowance is five hours).
The third game will be played in Fukushima City on 14 November.
Ryu makes good start to Tengen title defence
Yoda Norimoto wound up a lacklustre year with a brilliant title defence, and it seems that Ryu Shikun is bidding to emulate him. At the end of September, Ryu had a minus record of 13 wins to 16 losses, but he has regained form just in time for the 27th Tengen title match. In the first game, played on 2 November, Ryu defeated the challenger, Hane Naoki, by 1.5 points.
Kobayashi takes lead in Women's Honinbo
Black is maintaining its perfect winning record in the the 20th Women's Honinbo title match. In Game Three, played on 29 October, Kobayashi Izumi 5-dan defeated Inori Yoko 5-dan, the defending champion, by 7.5 points to take a 2-1 lead.
The fourth game will be played in Osaka on 14 November.